The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, reviewed by Oak Farm Reading Group.
I loved this book when I first read it about three years ago so I was looking forward to hearing my reading group’s opinions. I found it to be beautifully written as it sparked my imagination and filled my head with pictures of a very different Afghanistan from the one we see on the News today. The writing is well balanced as it describes society in Afghanistan just enough to understand what is going on but not so much that it becomes boring or tedious. This sentiment was echoed by other members of the group.
The main focus of this book is on the relationship between Amir and Hassan, two boys living in Afghanistan. The book starts with Amir, in his mid-twenties, reflecting on an event that alters his relationship with Hassan when they are boys. The group discussed how it is not necessarily Amir’ reluctance to intervene and save Hassan when he is attacked, but more his attitude towards him after this event that define his character in the book. He is just a child and running from something that is scary is a natural reaction, but to not comfort and instead shun his friend afterwards is the more shameful act. To some members of our group this was the reason why he needed to seek redemption and why he became unlikeable.
It was commented upon that the story jumps from childhood, to escaping to America, to the period just before Amir’s return to Kabul very quickly. Some members of the groups said they would have liked to know more about Amir and his Father arriving in America. However we felt that this would have also taken the story away from its focus, the relationship between Amir and Hassan. This relationship is the focus of the book. It starts with Amir saying that he needed to redeem himself and ends with a glimmer of hope for Amir and Hassan’s son. The boys are almost like twins, their sometimes conflicting personalities complement each other and they appear to predict each other’s thoughts.
Amir does redeem himself through his actions at the end of the book. He suffers in order to rescue Sohrab, and this suffering, as well as him adopting Sohrab, is what redeems him. Though, as pointed out by some of our group, he has to have his arm twisted before he goes to Kabul. We also questioned whether he would have been so willing to adopt Sohrab if he had his own children. We all loved the hint of a breakthrough at the end.
In regards to the character of Assef some of our members felt they knew he would be coming back and predicted that the Taliban official would be him. Others, myself included, had not predicted this and found this twist added more to the story and provided a reason for Sohrab being singled out.
Together we gave this book a 9 out of 10.
Oak Farm Reading group meets the second Tuesday of every month. Our next meeting is on Tuesday 8th March at 2pm where we will be discussing ‘The Universe Versus Alex Wood’ by Gavin Extence. If you are interested in joining please contact Rosie at Oak Farm library on 01895 556242 or firstname.lastname@example.org